PRESS CONFERENCES

Kevin Drum thinks President Bush doesn’t hold enough press conferences and re-iterates his proposal for a Constitutional amendment requiring presidents to hold weekly two-hour press conferences.

I’m not sure why we need this. Press conferences are, frankly, silly. Almost as silly as presidential “debates,” in fact. I mean, the guy is fulfilling the duties of the office of President, arguably the hardest job in the world. His policies, programs, and the state of the country are under constant scrutiny. Why does he need to answer silly-assed questions from the press?

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. jen says:

    Isn’t that what his Press Secretary is for? He speaks for the Administration at daily press briefings.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Yep–good point. Indeed, administration figures talk to the press constantly. And while I love the British Question Time and sometimes even pine for it here, there’s really no reason presidents need to have command of the nuances of every issue some reporter can throw at him. The key is his judgment on the issues after listening to the experts.

  3. Kevin Drum says:

    The constitutional amendment, of course, was a joke. But it sounds like you’re serious. You really don’t think the president should have to bother responding to actual questions about his policies?

  4. James Joyner says:

    I figured the Amendment business was tongue-in-cheek.

    But, yes, why should he? He works for the voters. If they don’t penalize him for not taking questions, what’s the problem? His policies are questioned and analyzed all the time. His representatives are out there all the time, from press conferences, to interviews, to the Sunday talk shows. Presidents are managers, not policy wonks. I want to know what Bush thinks in very broad terms, but I don’t expect him to necessarily be great on his feet and a master of all things. It winds up being a game of gotcha rather than a useful exchange.

    And, actually, Bush takes questions from the press all the time, anyway. He just doesn’t have formal news conferences very often. Clinton went a very long period dodging the press during the Lewinski business, and that always struck me as a reasonable approach for him to take.

  5. Sven says:

    I don’t think there’s any disputing W has had unusually fewer encounters with the press (the tally is something like 8 to date compared to 50 in his father’s administration).

    And after his latest off-the-cuff effort, I don’t think there’s any disputing why he doesn’t hold more press conferences — and it ain’t because the questions are too hard.

  6. bianco (cribbing yeats) says:

    press conferences are better left to our servants.